Coaching was a world away, a distant echo smothered by the peace of holidays with friends and family, lazy days at the beach, al fresco dining and the anonymity of being John or Jane Citizen and not `Coach’.
However summer comes and summer goes and the three certainties in the life of a coach are death, taxes and another netball season rolling around every autumn.
A new season means new challenges -another group of bright eyed youngsters learning the game, the player that grew five inches over the break, the eager new recruits and the stalwarts starting their last season – again!
As their coach you witness their triumphs, you celebrate their success, you nurture, guide and support them to achieve and you are there to console when things don’t quite pan out the way we’d all like.
And you wouldn’t have it any other way right?
So as we embark on the dawning of a new season, here’s a few things to consider:
Do your players have it? We all like to know what the expectations of us are and whether you’re starting at your first NetSetGO program or racking up your 200th senior game this year, everyone likes to know what is expected of them. So do they? Likewise, what do your players expect from you?
That’s Plan A through D – and it wouldn’t hurt to have E & F handy as well!
Planning is the key component to running successful and engaging training sessions and programs. Importantly, planning isn’t simply scribbling a few notes down in the car on the way to training – although it has been known to happen. But it involves reviewing previous sessions/games, monitoring games and activities as they run, planning for team and individual outcomes and everything in between. Needless to say, ignore it at your peril.
Long-serving Adelaide Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson, left, says “the coach wears many hats”, so it’s important to have some help around you during the week and on match day. Volunteering in community clubs means getting this help can be tricky, however if you can secure the valuable services of a couple of support staff it will make your life so much easier. Remember, you may not require their help all year but just to give you the occasional chop out will help lots.
This is why players start in the game and it’s the thing that keeps drawing them back year after year. The simplicity of having fun with your friends can never be undersold when you’re playing sport. So as coach, what are you doing to create this environment? The importance of developing players and teams always runs parallel with the concept of fun. But let’s face it – your job will be that much easier if you create an environment your players want to come back to. “After all, the game is for enjoyment. That’s the most important thing,” Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann says.
So it’s not an extensive list and, as coaches know, the job is an all-consuming, multi-headed beast.
However without these exceptional people out in our communities this beast would not be tamed and hundreds of thousands of participants would be the poorer for it.
So thank you coaches for the wonderful job you do and Netball Australia wishes you every success this year.